Matt Walsh recently went all around the world asking what a woman is, but I think we need to ask a prerequisite question. What is a man?
Courage, strength, wisdom, provision, leadership, humility, and reverence – all can be used to describe a good man. And, yes, women and children can also have these traits, and many men lack some or all of them to a remarkable degree. But a good man is characterized by a relative abundance of these qualities which historically have been summed up in the word “manly.”
Yet I want to not brag about being a good man myself as I tell you about my fear of heights. And it will not be hard to avoid bragging when I tell you about how a number of years ago, I tried conquering Granite Peak with three other men. Cold, wet, and discouraged, we turned back before reaching the top, in no small part due to my encouragement after a number of surprises and setbacks had stacked the deck against success and reasonable safety in my view. And I realized then that I like being in the mountains and next to them, but I don’t especially need to be on top of them.
I was reminded of this realization last November when my wife Lauren and I made an attempt to drive up Pike’s Peak while on a getaway to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary and my 35th birthday. We turned around near the top because I genuinely believed that was for the best given how I was doing. But the question first and foremost in that moment was not whether anyone else could have done it. Rather, the question was whether I could safely get us all the way to the top and back down again given my fear of heights, the fact that I was driving, and the light-headed feeling I was getting being so far above the timber line.
This also reminds me of falling down the stairs with my eyes closed when I was very young. It was naptime, and my mother was having coffee in the living room with a friend of hers. To my irrational young mind, they would not see me sneaking by to go down to the basement and play with my toys if my eyes were closed. Needless to say, they certainly did notice me when I tumbled head over heels down the stairs because I wasn’t looking where I was going. But both the right and wrong lessons can be learned in such moments. Hopefully the right one was learned then – about the difference between perception and reality, and how much what others will think or see should override the most practical concerns like where the next step is in relation to one’s feet.
On a similar note, it’s been nearly four years since the last hunting trip. Hunting with friends who knew how for several seasons was meant to teach the skills and habits requisite for eventually hunting with all these sons of ours. But wouldn’t you know it? The year we traded in our 2008 Hyundai Elantra for a 2018 F-150 was the first in at least a trio of years so far now in which none of the hunting we had talked about doing with said truck has happened. Yet the truck has still served us well. It’s a fine tool for getting around in and hauling people and things to various places. Perhaps also we will take it hunting yet.
Speaking of mountains and hunting, the fear of heights and not bagging any deer since 2018, let’s talk about vasectomies. I really just don’t see them in the Bible. But who has stopped to consider that Jordan Peterson got suspended from Twitter for criticizing Ellen Page’s double-mastectomy in a way which never would have happened had the criticism been directed toward men having themselves neutered? Leave off mentions of circumcision because it does not remove the organ or eliminate its function. As for eunuchs, now is as good a time as any to teach a sound principle of hermeneutics, that not all that is described in the Bible should be mistaken as being prescribed. Judas did hang himself, after all. Should we go and do likewise?
Silly questions aside, a courageous person somewhere should carefully consider the potential connection between gender reassignment surgeries and men having their tubes tied. The Lord told our forefathers Adam and Noah to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the Earth and subdue it. And if that command was rescinded at a certain point, I missed it. But maybe obedience to that mandate requires climbing mountains and shooting wild game sometimes. Other times, it may not. But again, I don’t see self-mutilation in the Bible where the function of our God-given reproductive organs is intentionally sabotaged to keep us from being fruitful and multiplying. And what is a man anyways?
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